Max Planck Gesellschaft

Shaun R Levick

MPI for Biogeochemistry
Department of Biogeochemical Processes


Phone: +61 08 8946 7691

Email: shaun.levick(at)
Street address: Charles Darwin University Darwin NT 0909, Australia Website:

Career Path

Associate ProfessorCharles Darwin University/CSIRO Land and Water, Australia2017 - present
Group LeaderMPI BGC, Germany2015 - 2017
Research ScientistMPI BGC, Germany2012 - 2015
Research ScientistGNS Science, New Zealand2011 - 2012
Postdoctoral scholarCarnegie Institution, Stanford USA2008 - 2011
PhDUniversity of the Witwatersrand2008

Research Focus

I explore the processes that create, maintain and modify landscape heterogeneity, and assess the consequences of heterogeneity for ecological functioning and biodiversity conservation in the context of global change. I aim to improve understanding and modeling of ecosystem processes across scales and better inform biodiversity conservation and land management practices.

Recent Publications

1Singh, J., Levick, S. R., Guderle, M., Schmullius, C. (2020). Moving from plot-based to hillslope-scale assessments of savanna vegetation structure with long-range terrestrial laser scanning (LR-TLS). International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 90: 102070. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2020.102070.
2Silvério, D. V., Brando, P. M., Bustamante, M. M. C., Putz, F. E., Marra, D. M., Levick, S. R., Trumbore, S. E. (2019). Fire, fragmentation, and windstorms: A recipe for tropical forest degradation. Journal of Ecology, 107(2), 656-667. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.13076.
3Bae, S., Levick, S. R., Heidrich, L., Magdon, P., Leutner, B. F., Wöllauer, S., Serebryanyk, A., Nauss, T., Krzystek, P., Gossner, M. M., Schall, P., Heibl, C., Bässler, C., Doerfler, I., Schulze, E. D., Krah, F.-S., Culmsee, H., Jung, K., Heurich, M., Fischer, M., Seibold, S., Thorn, S., Gerlach, T., Hothorn, T., Weisser, W. W., Müller, J. (2019). Radar vision in the mapping of forest biodiversity from space. Nature Communications, 10: 4757. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12737-x.
4Levick, S. R., Richards, A. E., Cook, G. D., Schatz, J., Guderle, M., Williams, R. J., Subedi, P., Trumbore, S. E., Andersen, A. N. (2019). Rapid response of habitat structure and above-ground carbon storage to altered fire regimes in tropical savanna. Biogeosciences, 16(7), 1493-1503. doi:10.5194/bg-16-1493-2019.
5Brando, P. M., Silvério, D., Maracahipes-Santos, L., Oliveira-Santos, C., Levick, S. R., Coe, M. T., Migliavacca, M., Balch, J. K., Macedo, M. N., Nepstad, D. C., Maracahipes, L., Davidson, E., Asner, G., Kolle, O., Trumbore, S. E. (2019). Prolonged tropical forest degradation due to compounding disturbances: Implications for CO2 and H2O fluxes. Global Change Biology, 25(9), 2855-2868. doi:10.1111/gcb.14659.
6Goldbergs, G., Levick, S. R., Lawes, M., Edwards, A. (2018). Hierarchical integration of individual tree and area-based approaches for savanna biomass uncertainty estimation from airborne LiDAR. Remote Sensing of Environment, 205, 141-150. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.11.010.
7Singh, J., Levick, S. R., Guderle, M., Schmullius, C., Trumbore, S. E. (2018). Variability in fire-induced change to vegetation physiognomy and biomass in semi-arid savanna. Ecosphere, 9(12): e02514. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2514.
8Cobb, R. C., Ruthrof, K., Breshears, D., Llorett, F., Aakala, T., Adams, H. D., Anderegg, W. L., Ewers, B. E., Galiano, L., Grünzweig, J. M., Hartmann, H., Huang, C., Klein, T., Kunert, N., Kitzberger, T., Landhäusser, S. M., Levick, S. R., Preisler, Y., Suarez, M. L., Trotsiuk, V., Zeppel, M. (2017). Ecosystem dynamics and management after forest die-off: a global synthesis with conceptual state-and-transition models. Ecosphere, 8(12): e02034. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2034.
9O’Brien, M. J., Engelbrecht, B. M. J., Joswig, J., Pereyra, G., Schuldt, B., Jansen, S., Kattge, J., Landhäusser, S. M., Levick, S. R., Preisler, Y., Väänänen, P., Macinnis-Ng, C. (2017). A synthesis of tree functional traits related to drought-induced mortality in forests across climatic zones. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54(6), 1669-1686. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12874.
10Ehrle, A., Andersen, A. N., Levick, S. R., Schumacher, J., Trumbore, S. E., Michalzik, B. (2017). Yellow-meadow ant (Lasius flavus) mound development determines soil properties and growth responses of different plant functional types. European Journal of Soil Biology, 81, 83-93. doi:10.1016/j.ejsobi.2017.06.006.
11Davies, A. B., Levick, S. R., Robertson, M. P., van Rensburg, B. J., Asner, G. P., Parr, C. L. (2016). Termite mounds differ in their importance for herbivores across savanna types, seasons and spatial scales. Oikos, 125(5), 726-734. doi:10.1111/oik.02742.
12Rughoeft, S., Herrmann, M., Lazar, C. S., Cesarz, S., Levick, S. R., Trumbore, S. E., Kuesel, K. (2016). Community composition and abundance of bacterial, archaeal and nitrifying populations in savanna soils on contrasting bedrock material in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7: 1638. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01638.
13Levick, S. R., Hessenmöller, D., Schulze, E. D. (2016). Scaling wood volume estimates from inventory plots to landscapes with airborne LiDAR in temperate deciduous forest. Carbon Balance and Management, 11: 7. doi:10.1186/s13021-016-0048-7.
14Anderegg, W. R. L., Martinez-Vilalta, J., Cailleret, M., Camarero, J. J., Ewers, B. E., Galbraith, D., Gessler, A., Grote, R., Huang, C.-y., Levick, S. R., Powell, T. L., Rowland, L., Sánchez-Salguero, R., Trotsiuk, V. (2016). When a tree dies in the forest: Scaling climate-driven tree mortality to ecosystem water and carbon fluxes. Ecosystems, 19(6), 1133-1147. doi:10.1007/s10021-016-9982-1.
15Gossner, M. M., Wende, B., Levick, S. R., Schall, P., Floren, A., Linsenmair, K. E., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Schulze, E. D., Weisser, W. W. (2016). Deadwood enrichment in European forests – Which tree species should be used to promote saproxylic beetle diversity? Biological Conservation, 201, 92-102. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.06.032.
16Davies, A. B., van Rensburg, B. J., Robertson, M. P., Levick, S. R., Asner, G. P., Parr, C. L. (2016). Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna. Ecology, 97(6), 1618-1624. doi:10.1890/15-1905.1.
17Schulze, E. D., Boch, S., Levick, S. R., Schumacher, J. (2016). Seltene und gefährdete Pflanzen wachsen im Laubwald überall. AFZ, der Wald, 13, 35-38.
18Asner, G. P., Vaughn, N., Smit, I. P. J., Levick, S. R. (2016). Ecosystem-scale effects of megafauna in African savannas. Ecography, 39(2), 240-252. doi:10.1111/ecog.01640.
19Urbazaev, M., Thiel, C., Mathieu, R., Naidoo, L., Levick, S. R., Smit, I., Asner, G., Schmullius, C. (2015). Assessment of the mapping of fractional woody cover in southern African savannas using multi-temporal and polarimetric ALOS PALSAR L-band images. Remote Sensing of Environment, 166, 138-153. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2015.06.013.
20Ratcliffe, S., Holzwarth, F., Nadrowski, K., Levick, S. R., Wirth, C. (2015). Tree neighbourhood matters – Tree species composition drives diversity–productivity patterns in a near-natural beech forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 335, 225-234. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.09.032.
21Levick, S. R., Setterfield, S. A., Rossiter-Rachor, N. A., Hutley, L. B., MacMaster, D., Hacker, J. M. (2015). Monitoring the distribution and dynamics of an invasive grass in tropical savanna using airborne LiDAR. Remote Sensing, 7(5), 5117-5132. doi:10.3390/rs70505117.
22Levick, S. R., Baldeck, C. A., Asner, G. P. (2015). Demographic legacies of fire history in an African savanna. Functional Ecology, 29(1), 131-139. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12306.
23Asner, G. P., Owen-Smith, N., Loarie, S. R., Davies, A. B., Le Roux, E., Levick, S. R. (2015). Habitat differences do not explain population declines of sable antelope in an African savanna. Journal of Zoology, 297(3), 225-234. doi:10.1111/jzo.12269.
24Schwabe, F., Göttert, T., Starik, N., Levick, S. R., Zeller, U. (2015). A study on the postrelease behaviour and habitat preferences of black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) reintroduced into a fenced reserve in Namibia. African Journal of Ecology, 53(4), 531-539. doi:10.1111/aje.12245.
25Joyce, K. E., Samsonov, S. V., Levick, S. R., Engelbrecht, J., Belliss, S. (2014). Mapping and monitoring geological hazards using optical, LiDAR, and synthetic aperture RADAR image data. Natural Hazards, 73(2), 137-163. doi:10.1007/s11069-014-1122-7.
26Baldeck, C. A., Colgan, M. S., Féret, J.-B., Levick, S. R., Martin, R. E., Asner, G. P. (2014). Landscape-scale variation in plant community composition of an African savanna from airborne species mapping. Ecological Applications, 24(1), 84-93. doi:10.1890/13-0307.1.
27Davies, A., Levick, S., Asner, G., Robertson, M., van Rensburg, B., Parr, C. (2014). Spatial variability and abiotic determinants of termite mounds throughout a savanna catchment. Ecography, 37, 001-011. doi:10.1111/ecog.00532.
28Davies, A. B., Robertson, M. P., Levick, S. R., Asner, G. P., van Rensburg, B. J., Parr, C. L. (2014). Variable effects of termite mounds on African savanna grass communities across a rainfall gradient. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25(6), 1405-1416. doi:10.1111/jvs.12200.
29Thurner, M., Beer, C., Santoro, M., Carvalhais, N., Wutzler, T., Schepaschenko, D., Shvidenko, A., Kompter, E., Ahrens, B., Levick, S., Schmullius, C. (2014). Carbon stock and density of northern boreal and temperate forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23(3), 297-310. doi:10.1111/geb.12125.
30Levick, S. R., Asner, G. P. (2013). The rate and spatial pattern of treefall in a savanna landscape. Biological Conservation, 157, 121-127. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.07.009.
31Chadwick, O., Roering, J., Heimsath, A., Levick, S., Asner, G., Khomo, L. (2013). Shaping post-orogenic landscapes by climate and chemical weathering. Geology, 41(11), 1171-1174. doi:10.1130/G34721.1.
32Levick, S. R., Asner, G., Smit, I. P. J. (2012). Spatial patterns in the effects of fire on savanna vegetation three-dimensional structure. Ecological Applications, 22(8), 2110-2121. doi:10.1890/12-0178.1.
33Colgan, M. S., Asner, G. P., Levick, S. R., Martin, R. E., Chadwick, O. A. (2012). Topo-edaphic controls over woody plant biomass in South African savannas. Biogeosciences, 9, 1809-1821. doi:10.5194/bg-9-1809-2012.
34Asner, G., Levick, S. (2012). Landscape-scale effects of herbivores on treefall in African savanna. Ecology Letters, 15, 1211-1217. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01842.x.

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